When Is It Time To Consider Surgery For Bunions?

It’s estimated that up to 1 in 3 Americans are living with bunions but despite it being the most common foot deformity, it’s also highly misunderstood. There are many misconceptions not only about how bunions are formed but how to treat them. If you’ve been living with bunions and aren’t sure the best way to treat them, call a foot and ankle doctor in Scottsdale for professional and medical advice. 

What are Bunions? 

Bunions are a bone deformity that develop on the outside of the joint on the big toe. They are a progressive problem that gets worse over time, eventually leading to redness, inflammation and pain. The bony bump also pushes the big toe out of alignment causing it to point inward towards the foot instead of straight forward. 

What Causes Bunions?

Bunions develop due to unnatural, long term pressure on the big toe joint which over time, causes the joint to deform. There are many environmental factors that can contribute to making bunions worse such as improper footwear, high heels, and certain foot types but these only make the problem worse, they don’t produce bunions. 

Misconceptions about Bunions 

Many people think bunions are caused by wearing high heels, tight fitting shoes, or are passed down through genetics. While there is truth to some of these ideas, they are mostly misconceptions. For example, bunions are not necessarily genetic but a poor foot structure that can lead to bunions is. Genetics can leave you with a predisposition to bunions, but are not the cause of them. Same with wearing ill fitting shoes or high heels. Wearing the wrong foot wear may never lead to bunions unless you have the foot structure for it. 

How to Treat Bunions

Surgery is not always needed. That being said, bunions can be progressive and if you don’t start tending to them right away, surgery may be needed down the road. There are several non-surgical ways to start treating bunions when they begin to form. 

First and foremost, it’s important to get proper fitting shoes with a wide toe box to elevate pressure on the big toe. If you’re experiencing redness and soreness at the site of the bunion, you can use pads or medical tape to cushion the area and ease tenderness. If you’re experiencing pain and discomfort, you can try icing the area for 20 minute intervals, massaging the area to reduce pain and inflammation, or talk to your specialist about steroid injections. 

How to tell When Surgery is Needed?

There are few major indicators that surgery might be needed. If walking becomes painful, if you lose mobility in the big toe, or if severe inflammation develops, surgery might be needed. The procedure to remove a bunion is safe and can be done as an outpatient service at your doctors office. If you think this option is best for you, contact a foot and ankle doctor in Scottsdale to set up a consultation and learn more about the procedure.